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Several Congress politicians have already expressed their shock and disappointment at Mukherjee’s decision, but neither Congress president Rahul Gandhi or his mother Sonia had commented about it.
Yesterday, after Mukherjee’s daughter hit out at him – on Twitter – for agreeing to attend the event at the RSS headquarters, Congress MP Patel quoted her comment and added one of his own.
“I did not expect this from Pranab da!”, tweeted Patel.
I did not expect this from Pranab da ! https://t.co/VBqXZ8x7SE
— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) 1528308802000
Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee tweeted earlier yesterday saying that the optics of attending an RSS event are enough to make it seem like the former President is endorsing the RSS’s views.
“Hope @CitiznMukherjee now realises from todays’ incident, how BJP dirty tricks dept operates. Even RSS wouldn’t believe that u r going 2 endorse its views in ur speech. But the speech will be forgotten, visuals will remain & those will be circulated with fake statements,” she tweeted.
Hope @CitiznMukherjee now realises from todays’ incident, how BJP dirty tricks dept operates. Even RSS wouldn’t bel… https://t.co/e1UhaKqaEg
— Sharmistha Mukherjee (@Sharmistha_GK) 1528297880000
She added that his visit will give the BJP and RSS ammunition to spread rumours and lies.
“By going 2 Nagpur, u r giving BJP/RSS full handle 2 plant false stories, spread falls rumours as 2day & making it somewhat believable. And this is just d beginning!,” she added.
[email protected] By going 2 Nagpur, u r giving BJP/RSS full handle 2 plant false stories, spread falls rumours as… https://t.co/NPkEJZXjJM
— Sharmistha Mukherjee (@Sharmistha_GK) 1528297989000
After news broke that Mukherjee had accepted an invite to attend the valedictory function of the ‘Sangh Shiksha Varg’, the headquarters of the RSS’s fountainhead, senior Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram was one of the first from the party to express disappointment.
He said that since Mukherjee has accepted the invitation, he should go and tell the RSS “what is wrong” with their ideology.
Another Congressman, Ramesh Chennithala from Kerala, sent a letter to Mukherjee last week, requesting him to not attend the event.He said the former President’s decision to attend come as a “rude shock” to secular minds in the country.
“As a person who has served as the first citizen of our country and the greatest ambassador of secularism, I request you to reconsider your decision to attend the RSS meet on June 7,2018,” said Chennithala in his letter.
West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury and senior Congress leader V Hanumantha Rao also urged Mukherjee against attending the event.
“I am really surprised to hear about the decision of Pranab Mukherjee to attend RSS’s programme in Nagpur. Just like any other Congressman, I am really astonished to hear about it,” said Chowdhury.
“My question is does he (Mukherjee) think his previous comments against RSS were wrong … We still remember how Pranab Mukherjee as a senior leader of the Congress had criticized RSS as a communal and a divisive organization,” he said.
Veteran Congressman CK Jaffer Sharief also sent a letter to Mukherjee, expressing surprise over the move and said he, like other secular people, was “stunned” to hear about his attending the RSS function.
(With inputs from PTI)